Notes on Buzz Spector

The following notes were taken while reading an untitled article by Buzz Spector, which appears in The Studio Reader, edited by Mary Jane Jacob and Michelle Grabner (2010).

In this short essay, the author lists and describes the fourteen studios he has occupied over his 37-year career as an artist. Spector notes that more recently, much of his “artistic production” has happened outside of his studio, in “workshop or rental spaces” which have the particular “equipment” that he needs for his various projects. However, Spector maintains that “what happens in those sites is preceded by reveries, choices, and designs executed in spaces I call my own”. This notion of the studio as a place for “reveries” and “designs” links back to some of the ideas touched on in previous posts (Baldessari and Solomons), in which the studio is conceived as a place in which work originates or is planned, but not where it is necessarily made or “realized”.

Spector describes the artistic process:

Not every day, or for every artist, but on some days for most artists, a vital thought happens at/in their work, and from the interior space of inspiration the artist can begin its embodiment in the exterior space to which conceptualization is connected, the cognitive spatial armature of the studio“.

I like this description of the studio as a “cognitive spatial armature”, an “exterior space” connected to “conceptualization”. What are the requirements or necessary features of such an “armature” or space in which the conceptual can become realized?

Spector’s descriptions of his various studio spaces over the years are short, but several key features or elements are reproduced across several sites:

  1. A table or easel for working on drawings
  2. Storage for art works (mostly in filing cabinets)
  3. Storage for art supplies, including collage materials
  4. Computer or laptop
  5. Bookshelves

Most of the furniture in Spector’s studio has been recycled, reused or adapted from use in a previous studio, for example a large sheet of plywood is used as an easel, and later repurposed into a table. In later iterations of the studio, the above elements become multiplied (e.g. more filing cabinets, more bookshelves), and more features are added, for example a “project space”, better lighting, and facilities for hosting visitors.

I am interested in the 5 key elements listed above, and I wonder if these are the essential features that constitute a “studio”, and how these features could be iterated differently in different contexts. For example, how do the digital “repositories for practice” described by Solomon fulfil these requirements? In a way, each of the more “physical” studio elements above can be absorbed into the computer or laptop, though this would limit (perhaps helpfully?) the nature of any work produced.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *